Malaysia's Defence Ministry lost over $160m from land swop deals, says minister

Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said that a majority of the land swop projects were implemented without detailed planning.
Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said that a majority of the land swop projects were implemented without detailed planning.PHOTO: ST FILE

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Defence Ministry lost more than RM500 million (S$166 million) from several land swop deals worth RM4.75 billion, said its minister Mohamad Sabu.

Mr Mohamad said his ministry has received a report from the Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee led by former Auditor-General Ambrin Buang on the land swop deals, which was discussed in last Wednesday's (Feb 13) Cabinet meeting.

"The committee investigated 16 deals involving 2,932 acres of land belonging to the ministry. In addition to the land value, the cost of the projects is estimated to be RM4.88 billion," he said in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 19).

He added that the ministry was informed that a majority of the land swop projects were implemented without detailed planning.

The selection of the developer companies was also not done with due diligence.

When it came to the selection of the land swop locations, Mr Mohamad, also known as Mat Sabu, said that there was also "political interference from certain quarters".

"This resulted in parts of the projects exceeding the contractual duration initially agreed upon.

 
 

"Alongside this, some projects were completed, but the construction quality is unsatisfactory," he said.

He instructed his officers to file reports with the police, the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and relevant agencies so that investigations can be conducted.

Last April, former Umno minister Rafidah Aziz publicly alleged that land belonging to the Armed Forces had been swopped by a company supposedly under the control of three key individuals.

However, former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein denied the allegations, saying that it was an "outright lie".